Staking STAKE and messing around on xDai (Things to do when ETH gas fees are low!).

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I've been following the privacy protocol HOPR since it launched earlier in the year. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to set up a node or anything like that in the test phases, so I missed out on the initial distribution and purchase. However, I have been quite interested in privacy protocols as they have started to build upon the transparent blockchains... I really think that this is one of the next important issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Anyway, HOPR was launched and has its spiritual home on the xDAI Ethereum sidechain. xDAI is one of the older sidechains for Ethereum... a bit nerdier and less limelight than some of the other side-chains and layer 2s. It is something that I have been more interested in exploring after it was introduced to me by a friend a couple of years (or was it last year... time is a bit hard to track these days) ago. I was interested enough to pick up some STAKE, which is the governance/utility token of the xDAI sidechain.

Basically, the xDAI sidechain offers a way to have faster and cheaper transactions as it is based more upon a POS type consensus. However, the real draw is that pricing of gas/transactions is done in the stable coin xDAI. xDAI is the bridged equivalent of DAI, so DAI that has been locked up in the bridge contract from Ethereum.

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Well, like most things, I go straight to the project page to learn as much as possible about how it all works before I try anything out. This is especially important for thing that are connected to Ethereum, as you don't want to be making too many unnecessary transactions, even if the prices are low. I had looked it all up earlier when I was first introduced to xDAI, but at that time, the prices for transacting on Ethereum were quite prohibitive and so I had forgotten most of it. Plus, there hadn't been the options for bridging over from BSC and Polygon at that time.

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The most critical problem that I could see at first was the lack of xDAI to complete transactions after I bridged over STAKE. However, if you bridge non-DAI assets for the first time using the OmniBridge interface you are dripped 0.01 xDAI to assist with any further transactions such as swaps that will help fund your account.

So, I had a couple of objectives in mind, claim some xHOPR that I had waiting for me in a smart contract, stake STAKE on xDAI. And to do that, I would likely need a few cents worth of xDAI... so, more than the drip from OmniBridge. I started looking around to see if there were other community faucets, but it turns out that they were all dried up. I could ask my friend or have a little shout-out on the HOPR forums, but I am always wary of doing that... after all, people also want to protect their own privacy... and at the moment, that can be a tricky thing to do on Ethereum and xDAI... and I'm not going to put people in the awkward position of potentially doxxing themselves to help someone else out.

So, plan A. Bridge some DAI-peg from BSC to xDAI.... this appeared to be the cheapest option given that I only wanted a handful of xDAI and the fees on BSC were lower than Ethereum mainnet. However, this would mean that they would convert to DAI-peg on the xDAI chain and NOT the proper xDAI that could be used to pay for transactions. To get there, I would need to use Honeyswap or some other DEX that could convert the BSC xDAI-peg to real xDAI.... and that would mean that 0.01 xDAI would need to stretch to at least a spending approval AND a swap transaction.... and it turns out that I was fractions of a cent short! Of course, I found that out AFTER bridging and trying it... Sigh!

Well, then I started looking around to see if there were any CEXs that did DAI withdrawals to xDAI. NOPE, not any that I had accounts with at least.. and I wasn't desperate enough to start trying out places that I wasn't familiar with.... and then only DEXs that were already on xDAI had pairs... chicken and the egg.

Bleah... so that meant that I was stuck unless I could scrounge up some xDAI from somewhere. I had thought of bridging some assets from a different BSC address to pick up one more faucet drips to enable the last transaction... however, that isn't really the purpose of the faucet... to pick up drips to forward onwards. It might be allowed, but I'm not keen on using them like that. Misplaced sense of honour...

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So, the last option was to just use the mainnet to xDAI bridge at xdai Bridge. Sigh, this was going to sting a little bit... but I figured that I would just transfer 15 DAI so that my xDAI account would be set for at least a few years (transactions are fractions of a cent...). I could use the excess to explore the xDAI chain anyway... after all, there are all the big players having a footprint there anyway! You can see the complete list here: https://www.xdaichain.com/about-xdai/project-spotlights

Anyway, let us just say that this was more than enough to free my xHOPR tokens... and finish the conversion of pegged-xDAI to real xDAI. And look into the staking of STAKE on the xDAI side...

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... except that I should have read the documentation a bit more carefully. After bridging the STAKE to xDAI, I stumbled across the documentation that laid out a minimum required stake. Sigh...

However, I did see that there was a method to "delegate" stake when it was lower than the required minimum. Unfortunately, that was going to be on the mainnet Ethereum side of the bridge! #@$%@#$%@&%@%@#$%

Okay... this must have looked like one of the stupidest transactions ever! Bridge over to xDAI... and then bridge back! Sadly, that was at least four mainnet transactions and one xDAI one (well, at least the xDAI side was really cheap!).

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... well, it could have been more painful. But that was a few more Ethereum mainnet transactions than I had hoped that it would take. But at least the gas fees were relatively low! I will take those fees as lessons learnt... now, time to explore xDAI!

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